About the Maldives
Where is the Maldives? The island nation is located southwest of India and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is a tropical paradise made up of an archipelago of 1,192 islands, only 183 of which are inhabited. The Maldives has an elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level, making it the lowest country in the world. The capital city, Malé, is home to around 133,400 people and one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
There are frequent direct flights to Malé from most international destinations, including India, Sri Lanka, Dubai, and major airports in South-East Asia and Europe.
Known for its world-class diving spots, the Maldives’ crystal clear waters and shallow lagoons are also perfect for snorkelling. The marine life found in this piece of paradise is incredibly diverse, with over 2,000 different species found in the seas around the archipelago, including dolphins, sharks, moray eels and rays. The best time to visit the Maldives for diving and snorkelling is during the dry November to April season.
The Malé Friday Mosque, also known as the Old Friday Mosque, is one of the oldest and most ornate mosques in the city of Malé. Made from coral boulders, like many other mosques in the country, the structure is surprisingly sturdy once the coral dries. For those interested in the history of the Maldives, the National Museum has a large collection of historical artifacts, ranging from stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities from the Buddhist era to the rule of Islamic monarchs.
The currency in the Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR), however the currency used at our resorts and resorts across the Maldives is the U.S. Dollar (USD)
The earliest written history of the Maldives is from time of the arrival of Sinhalese people, who were descended from the exiled Magadha Prince Vijaya from North East India. Before Buddhism, Maldivians had practised an ancient form of Hinduism, ritualistic traditions known as Śrauta. The 1,400-year-long Buddhist period was when Maldivian culture developed and flourished. The Maldivian language, the first scripts, architecture, ruling institutions, and customs came into being during this part of the island nation's history.
With an abudance of cowrie shells, a currency that was used throughout Asia and parts of East Africa since ancient times. The Bengal-Maldives cowry shell trade was the largest shell currency trade network in history. The Maldives converted to Islam in the 12th century, probably due to the increase in trade with the Middle East. The Buddhist king of the Maldives, Dhovemi, adopted a Muslim title and name: Sultan Muhammad al Adil, the first of a line of 84 sultans and sultanas. This lasted until 1932 when the sultanate became elective.
The colonial period began with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1558, followed by the Dutch. The Maldives then became a British protectorate in 1887, then on 26 July 1965 they gained their independence. In March 1968, the Maldivians abolished the sultanate and established a republic.
The local language is Dhivehi, but English is spoken widely in areas where there are tourists.
Culture and Religion
Maldivian culture is a mix of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab influences that can be seen in the country’s traditional music, cuisine and art. Islam is the dominant religion, after the country converted from Buddhism in the 12th century. As the Maldives is a Muslim country a conservative dress code should be adhered to when visiting any of the islands, while dress codes in the resorts are quite relaxed.